Alopecia Areata



An unpredictable, transient, non-skin-scarring hair loss caused by destruction of hair follicles, which can eventually lead to the loss of all scalp hair (alopecia totalis) or all body hair (alopecia universalis).

Common Symptoms

Hair loss in circular or patchy spots, itchy or painful scalp, and the formation of tiny dents on nails.

Coexisting Diseases and Conditions

Thyroid disease (hyperthyroidism and hypothyroidism), systemic lupus erythematosus, ocular cicatricial pemphigoid, vitiligo, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis, diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease, psychiatric conditions including depression and anxiety.

Risk Factors and Prevalence

Onset typically occurs before the age of 20, although it can affect all ages. It has also been shown to affect males and females equally. Although the exact cause of the disease is unknown, at least 20% have relatives with alopecia, which implies that there is a genetic predisposition.


  1. Article Sources
    1. Alopecia Areata. (n.d.). NORD (National Organization for Rare Disorders). Retrieved July 12, 2021, from

    2. MacLean, K. J., & Tidman, M. J. (2013a). Alopecia areata: More than skin deep. The Practitioner, 257(1764), 29–32, 3.